With the construction of the new barrage-cum-road across the Cauvery at Mayanur in Karur district nearing completion, the stage is set for the commissioning of the facility later this month or in early February. The Rs. 234-crore project is poised to become the fountainhead of the ambitious intra-State river-linking programme in Tamil Nadu.
Farmers served by Kattalai High Level Canal, New Kattalai High Level Canal, South Bank Canal, and North Bank Canal branching off on either side of the Cauvery had been demanding a barrage that could store flood water to feed the irrigation channels and improve the water table in the adjoining areas for a long time. The four channels irrigate over 1.12 lakh acres in Karur, Tiruchi, Thanjavur, and Pudukkottai districts.
The State government decided to multiply the benefits of constructing a barrage with a carriageway on top to link Mayanur in Karur with Seerpillayarpudur in Tiruchi on the left bank of the Cauvery. Besides, the long-term plan was to make this barrage the source of the first intra-State river-linking programme aimed at connecting the Cauvery with Agniyaru, South Vellar, Manimutharu, Vaigai, and Gundaru.
Conceived in 2008 at a cost of Rs. 165 crore, the project saw significant cost escalations to touch Rs. 189 crore the very next year. Finally, the project was sanctioned Rs. 234 crore while another Rs. 21 crore could be added to the final cost as per the current estimates to end at Rs. 250 crore. Construction of the barrage started in February 2009, but went into hibernation due to factors such as design redrawing.